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Goodfellow hosts AETC Command Chiefs, hones strategic perspective

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Command chiefs from across Air Education and Training Command came together at Goodfellow to gain a deeper understanding of the Air Force’s near-peer competitor threat during a conference March 20 and 21.

As the senior enlisted leaders of their wings, command chiefs are responsible for the training, readiness and welfare of their enlisted Airmen, and need to be a trusted council to their commanders. Therefore, having a deeper understanding of how AETC is training and equipping Airmen to deter an imminent threat is imperative to their leadership.

After receiving an intelligence brief on the threat imposed by near-peer adversaries, the chiefs sat down to wargame.

Wargaming is a tool used by the military to run hypothetical situations where leaders must make quick, important decisions to defeat the threat or solve the situation.

“This is not something that chiefs normally do,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC command chief. “If we can understand the challenges our commanders are facing and the decisions they are having to make on a daily basis, it makes us much better advisors to them when it comes to providing options, resources, and ways to make the mission happen.”

Through the exercises and briefings Thompson hopes to impress a new level of respect for the joint intelligence force. He also voiced intent to instill renewed perspective on great power competition, deterrence, and the confidence for chiefs to serve as stronger voices in the room with their commanders.

 “An environment focused on growth is key for our Airmen to thrive and reach their full potential. The development of our enlisted force is a mission imperative and must be a top priority for anyone who is expected to lead,” wrote Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown in their address from the 2022 – 2023 Enlisted Force Development plan. “By further investing in and empowering our Airmen, we better position them to act with confidence and out-think our adversaries by approaching and solving problems in new ways.”

These words from our top-tier Air Force leaders are exactly why AETC’s senior-most enlisted leaders gathered. In order to adequately pave the way for Airmen to understand and outthink the adversary, their leaders must be invested, educated and foster empowerment along every link in the chain of command.  

“This team is incredible,” said Thompson. “These are some of the best chiefs in the Air Force. They represent the part of the Air Force that creates air power every single day. We generate 36,000 brand new active duty enlisted Airmen, every year. This team here helps make that happen, and I’m pretty excited to get to work with them.”